While the ramifications of Thursday’s “indecisive” vote are continuing to fill the news channels, with reports from various Tory supporting papers noticing that perhaps UKIP have kept the Tories from a working majority. Attention is slipping a bit from Alex Salmond’s “Coalition of the Willing” or whatever Salmond’s anti-Tory coalition is called.
The SNP in a sense got an OK result from a poor campaign. Subrosa was irritated by the “More Nat’s Less Cuts” slogan, though personally I thought the Scotland’s Champions slogan was undermined somewhat by the local SNP/Lib Dem led council’s own programme of… er… cuts. The most controversial being the closure last year of a 25 year old school building (which happens to be adjacent to a proposed supermarket development), and the scrapping of school transport for all pupils who live up to 3 miles away from their school. Witnessing parents take apart the SNP candidate for Paisley North at the hustings meeting convinced me that the SNP would do badly at this election, that and their obsession over the “Leaders Debates” which clouded everything else.
The inability to deal with New Labours “Ripped-Off” campaign also had a part to play in the SNP’s poor showing. Which might part explain why the SNP are partially interested in an anti-Tory pact with New Labour. The tag of Tartan Tories has been the roadblock to electoral success in the central belt for the SNP since 1979. What better way to rid your self of the tag than to scupper a prospective Tory government. The SNP, i think want to be seen as the good guy’s. Cosying up to a party that has been happy to mis-represent your policies in the past, and will do so again, is not the way to remove that road-block.
For the SNP, they must get back to their day-job’s, governing Scotland. With 360 days left until the next Holyrood elections, the SNP need to work towards winning a second term, preferably not with a replication of 2007’s results. They need to stop being the Alan Lamb of Scottish politics, i.e. they need to play spin better. Their failure to successfully rebut the New Labour line over GARL is a case in point, which has lead to a perception that it is the SNP’s fault that Glasgow is short of money. It is New Labour’s sucessful re-branding of themselves as the opposition – despite being the incumbant party – which won them truckloads of seats in the central belt, and it is this lie which went unchecked.
New Labour are now in a state of limbo after the Lib Dem/Tory negotiation's. With the Lib Dem’s edging closer to a sort of agreement with the Conservatives, it looks as if Brown will have day’s left as Prime Minister. Friday’s result means that this new parliament is unlikely to go full term, which means that the next Westminster election will happen sooner rather than later. Which in turn will amend/truncate/alter New Labour’s timetable for electing a new leader. One suspect’s that this subject was up for discussion today when Campbell and Mandleson were meeting with Brown today.
Of the names in the frame, Johnson isn’t really keen on the post, either of the Milliband’s are too inexperienced. Ed Balls can only be described as yeuch!, while I've always though of Straw as being a bit lightweight. There is something about Darling and Harman as well, but this is not really the time to go into this.
I think that Brown is waiting for the Tories and the Lib Dem’s to agree on a legislative programme, before departing the scene. The question is though, how long will he remain as leader of his party?